Monday, July 7, 2008

Study links low IQ to vascular dementia risk

(Reuters Health)
By Michael Kahn
LONDON (Reuters) - A lower IQ increases a person's risk of developing a common form of dementia, a British study found on Wednesday.
The study published in the journal Neurology examined Scottish children who took a test of their mental ability in 1932 and found that those with lower IQs were more likely to develop vascular dementia decades later.
"In this case these people had the same backgrounds and exposure to environmental factors compared to their counterparts with higher IQs who did not get vascular dementia later in life," said John Starr, a geriatrician at the University of Edinburgh, who led the study.
"There is something about your mental ability that adds further to your risk of vascular dementia."
Vascular dementia, the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer's disease, is often associated with stroke. High blood pressure and smoking are risk factors.
The team also looked at Alzheimer's but found no link between mental ability and that disease, suggesting there is no evidence for the idea that people with higher IQs have a "cognitive reserve" to draw on to delay onset of the condition.

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